Lawmakers Push To Ban Behavioral Targeting Of Kids Under 16

Lawmakers have launched a new push to prevent companies from using behavioral advertising techniques to target teens younger than 16.

The "Do Not Track Kids Act," re-introduced this week, would prohibit companies from collecting personal data, including location information and tracking data, from teens ages 13-15 without their explicit consent. The bill also from would require companies to create an "eraser button," which would enable children (and their parents) to delete some personal information. Another provision would prohibit companies from selling connected devices targeted toward people under 16, unless the devices meet security standards established by the Federal Trade Commission.

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act already prohibits companies from collecting “personal information” -- including geolocation data and data about Web-surfing activity across sites -- from children under 13, without their parents' consent. The proposed "Do Not Track Kids Act" extends that by prohibiting companies from serving behaviorally targeted ads to minors under the age of 16.

Advocacy groups Common Sense Media, Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy are backing the effort.

"The Do Not Track Kids Act puts parents in control of their children’s information and contains commonsense protections for teenagers," Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), stated this week when he re-introduced the bill. "As we see every day the implications when personal information gets hacked, I hope the least we can do is come together on a bipartisan basis to provide a privacy bill of rights for children and minors in our country.”

Other co-sponsors are Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) Bobby Rush (D-Illinois). Three years ago, the same group of lawmakers introduced a similar bill.

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